What to Do About a Shattered Glass Window in Your Home

picture of a shattered glass window

Home windows can last decades, depending on building materials and local weather. Basic maintenance, like inspecting for mold and condensation and lubricating window tracks helps.

Unfortunately, you can’t account for freak accidents. With little warning, a stray rock or ball can cause a cracked or shattered glass window.

Window glass repair is your end goal, but what comes between it and the window breaking? What do you do about your shattered windows? Below is a detailed guide on home glass safety tips and DIY window repair solutions.

Safety First

The first step in emergency window repair is cleaning away broken glass.  Not only is it in the way, but touching and stepping on glass can cause serious health complications.

Use proper personal protection equipment (PPE) when dealing with glass shards. Wear cut-resistant gloves and eye protection. “Cut-resistant” and “puncture-resistant” aren’t the same.

Gloves that protect against slicing may not defend against punctures. Cut-resistant isn’t the same as “cut-proof,” so handle the glass carefully. Wear durable, thick-soled shoes so the glass doesn’t puncture through.

Removing Glass Shards From Window Frames

Accidents may result in glass shards still attached to the frame. You can remove it or have the window replacement team do it. Wear your PPE to prevent injury.

Put a drop cloth under the window to catch the glass. You can set it on either side of the window. Use gentle but firm taps to push the glass toward the protective sheet.

Remember to tap from the opposite side where you lay the protective cover. If you lay the drop cloth outside, use the hammer from indoors. This keeps glass from flying near you and makes clean-up easier.

Finishing the Clean Up

You can focus on the fallen glass once you’ve cleared the remaining pieces from the frame. Remove larger shards from the interior and outdoor ground first.

They’re the easiest to handle, and the faster they’re gone, the less chance of splintering into smaller pieces. Put these glass shards into a paper or double-layered plastic bag.

Sweep up smaller, still visible glass chips from the ground and windowsill. Use a shop vacuum, if you have one, to make sure tiny chips and glass dust are gone.

Fixing a Shattered Glass Window

The average homeowner likely doesn’t have the skill to handle a shattered glass window. Your simplest choice to repair this is to call the professionals.

We’ve explained how to clean away broken glass above. Once you’ve completed the cleanup, go ahead with covering the hole. You’ll need something to keep out the weather and bugs.

Heavy-duty plastic and duct tape should take care of the hole. Cover both sides — indoors and out — with plastic and tape to create a strong, dual-sided seal.

Handling Shattered Tempered Glass

Standards set by the International Residential Code (IRC) mandate that doors and certain windows have tempered glass. Tempered, or safety glass goes through heat treatment to make it stronger than regular glass.

Sliding, French and shower doors, and windows nine square feet and larger are examples of doors and windows with this safety glass. Tempered glass can still break, but in ways that protect people.

One protective measure is when the glass breaks into rounded chunks instead of sharp shards. The other is the glass holds together, preventing window breakage.

Place a protective tarp under the glass in case it falls. It’ll make cleanup quicker, although you should still use PPE while clearing the mess.

Do not use a door or window with broken tempered glass until it’s replaced. You don’t want to make the damage worse or harm yourself.

How to Repair Window Cracks

The previous sections assumed your window was so broken the glass shattered. However, damage may present as small cracks or chips.

Addressing these may not seem important, but they can grow larger. Epoxy, glue, and clear nail polish are suitable temporary fillers for shallow cracks and chips.

First, clear the glass dust and debris from the damaged area with a toothbrush or microfiber cloth. You can then brush the substance over a crack or chipped spot.

Brush in the glue, epoxy, or nail polish deeply enough to fill the damage. Expect to do this a few times before you fill the gouge. Consider looking into window repairs after filling the crack.

Fixing Large Window Cracks

Windows with small damage may not need prompt replacement, but larger cracks require immediate repairs. Sometimes you may have trouble getting a company out for an emergency window fix.

A temporary patch job allows you enough time to shop for a replacement without worrying about worsening the crack. The first step to dealing with a large crack is seeing whether your window is stable.

You can gently press against the window to see if it shifts. Another way to tell if you have an unstable glass is if one side of the crack travels further up the window than the other.

There isn’t much DIY window repair solutions will do for an unstable cracked window. Your best choice is to call a professional so they can handle it. Don’t use the window or door to avoid worsening damage and injury.

You can go ahead with clearing away debris if your window is stable. Use a toothbrush or microfiber with soapy water to remove glass dust and other particles.

Once clean, gently cover the crack with duct or packing tape. The length of the tape should extend beyond the ends of the fracture. This will help keep the window together and the elements out.

Who’ll Replace Your Shattered Glass Window?

You can temporarily repair a cracked window. However, no at-home emergency window fix can help with a shattered glass window.

DIY window repair solutions clean and patch holes, but Cut Rate Glass can replace damaged glass. We love working with windows, and we’ve been doing it for more than 15 years.

We handle residential single and dual-pane replacements, glass repairs, and custom mirror installations. Cut Rate Glass offers quality work at competitive prices. Contact us for a free quote or to discuss your project.